Dee Gordon gets two months to prove Dodgers right
Relax, have fun, do what you do.
And forget everybody will be watching you over the next two months to determine if you really can be counted upon next year.
Dee Gordon, I have no other advice. Just play your game and let everything fall into place.
View the fact that the next two months are your audition for full-time starting status as the Dodgers shortstop as opportunity and not burden.
Manager Don Mattingly had trouble being quite so specific, at first saying he "didn’t think of it as an audition," then adding, "in a sense I guess he’s auditioning," and then finally, when pressed, admitting it was but he just didn’t like the word.
"It’s like he’s trying out almost, but in a sense these guys are always trying out," Mattingly said. "You want to see who’s going to develop, see who’s going to get better.
"In the course of these two months you get a chance to see. You may see this guy’s still not ready. In a sense, I guess you are auditioning for us."
It makes no sense that it’s anything but an audition. Rafael Furcal is off to St. Louis. Gordon has been called back up. Now he has this time to confirm he is the Dodgers’ shortstop of the future. They need to go into the offseason feeling fairly confident Gordon is ready, or scramble for a quick backup plan.
For now, they’re all-in on the speedy Gordon. His first time up earlier this year he was both very good and still somewhat raw. He hit .232, stole nine bases in 12 attempts and scored eight runs in 82 at-bats.
Then he was returned to triple-A Albuquerque, where overall he’s batted .333 with 51 runs and 30 steals in 288 at-bats. Since returning to Albuquerque he's batted .375.
Gordon is 23, having spent three-plus seasons in the minors after being drafted in the fourth round in 2008. That’s a fairly quick climb, but Gordon appears to have a firm grasp of his situation.
"I’m just going to go out and play the same way I’ve always played, which is hard," Gordon said. "I’m going to try to do the same things I’ve always done."
It’s not like he has to set the majors on fire over the next two months, just demonstrate that he’s ready to become an everyday shortstop. Which for the Dodgers’ sake he’d better be, because now he’s all they have.
-- Steve Dilbeck
Photo: Dodgers rookie Dee Gordon makes an off-balance throw to first base for an out against the Angels in an interleague game July 2. Credit: Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times